After having suffered a run of six consecutive defeats in the Hero Indian Super League, Delhi Dynamos will hope for better things in the new year.
Up next for the bottom-placed side is Chennaiyin FC at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, Chennai, on Sunday, and the visitors will hope their season has not ended at the half-way stage itself.
Delhi Dynamos opened their ISL campaign with a win over FC Pune City but since then it has gone horribly wrong for them. “I think we have been playing good. But we have problems in two key areas — defence and attack. We have conceded too many cheap goals. Our set piece defending has failed us a number of times,” coach Miguel Portugal told reporters during the pre-match press conference.
— Khel Now (@KhelNow) January 6, 2018
The Delhi coach also confirmed that star striker Kalu Uche will not be available to start the game on Sunday. “He is not fit for a start. He is not fit yet. Maybe we’ll give him some game time but he will not start,” said the coach.
The visitors will also not have the services of attacking midfielder Claudio Matías Mirabaje after being suspended for four games after a clash with Mumbai City FC midfielder Sehnaj Singh in the previous game.
On paper, Chennaiyin FC look clear favourites to take all three points from the game and return to the top of the table. They will not have suspended coach John Gregory on the sidelines to guide them and should be aware of their past records against Dynamos. In the last six encounters between the two sides, Delhi have won four times while Chennaiyin have taken full points just once.
Assistant coach Syed Sabir Pasha, who filled in for Gregory at the pre-match press conference, felt the absence of the coach will not have much bearing on how they approach the game.
“Delhi will be a great test for us. We have defended as a team so far and we know they will come at us looking for a win. And we have to counter that,” said Pasha.
A win for Gregory’s side will see them take over as league leaders. At the other end, a win for Delhi Dynamos will lift them off the foot of the table.